BEIRUT/BRUSSELS: More than 1 million have taken shelter in Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Thursday.
Atalay said that as the number of Syrian refugees and displaced stood at 1.05 million, while a total of 22 camps in Turkey were hosting 218,632 refugees, with some camps hosting as many as 35,000-40,000 individuals.
The Turkish government provides free education to the children of Syrian refugees, as well as medical treatment free of change.
The announcement came as Ankara was taking on an additional refugee burden as it establishes camps for Iraqi nationals fleeing violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Atalay added, with a separate refugee camp restricted to Iraqi Turkmen.
Separately, European Union nations offered shelter to a majority of the Syrians seeking refuge from conflict last year but to less than one in three people fleeing Afghanistan, Africa or elsewhere.
Of the 50,000 Syrians who fled to the EU, some 35,000 were granted immediate protection, accounting for a quarter of the 135,000 people given asylum across Europe last year, the EU’s Eurostat agency said.
Overall, 29.4 percent of the 435,000 people who sought a safe haven in Europe were offered protection. Syrians were by far the largest group, followed by 16,400 Afghans and 9,700 Somalis.
Of the Syrians, more than 60 percent were given a home in Sweden, with 12,000, and Germany 9,600.
Germany last week said it would accept 10,000 more from Syria.
Europe’s top economy agreed last year to take an initial 10,000 Syrian refugees, of whom around 6,000 are already in the country, Eurostat said.
The war in Syria has killed more than 162,000 people and generated the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide of the mid-1990s.
Half the country’s population has fled, including nearly 3 million refugees sheltering in neighboring countries.